Gentlemen, I have a dilemma and am courting input from others.
I have a Falco and have fitted dual AFS4500 & AP into my temporary panel.It's a pretty comprehensive fit; the AFS stuff comes from the states where experimental stuff can fly IFR. Everything works as it should but it uses Jep data which is carp. AFS are currently investigating the possibility of using Rocketroute instead which I suspect would be a major leap forward but they have been promising it for months and can give no timescale on delivery. The time is now approaching where I want to convert my temporary aluminium panel into a custom built carbon fibre one but I can't do that until I have resolved this issue.
Long term plan for the aircraft is extensive European touring but neither I nor my co-owner have an IR although I do have an IMC.
Now the dilemma: I do have in my possession a refurbished GNS430W and we cannot decide whether we should fit it or sell it.
Pros are: Additional radio (we currently only have a single dual channel radio) Certified navigation. WAAS approaches Familiarity to lots of pilots. (This is only a consideration if anybody other than us flies the aeroplane. We do not envisage this but you never know...)
Cons: Weight. (I have spent the last two years shedding weight from the aircraft). Cost of data. (I gather than it's not uncommon for owners of GNS430W to share this data). Cost. The 430 is worth something in the order of £3500, maybe a tad more. Money has not been a primary factor so far when re-fitting the aircraft buut the question remains, are we going to get three and a half grands worth of added utility if we fit it?
I am ever mindful of the rumours that the LAA are working on securing IFR flight for permit a/c. Anyone got anything to add?
I should add that the time is approaching when I want to convert my tempoary aluminium panel into the final carbon fibre version and I can't do that until I get this issue resolved.
Knowing little about the avionics available on the uncertified market (just having seen loads of it at say Friedrichshafen and having been very impressed by some of it) it's hard to comment on the value of a GNS430W.
Obviously the value of a "certified" GPS is currently nil so it comes down to
My view is that if formal IFR capability is brought to your type then corresponding certified avionics will have to be fitted. I don't know what they do in the USA in their Exp regime but this is sure to be the way it would happen in Europe. So that is a case for putting it in.
I have zero inside knowledge on the likelihood of IFR without an ICAO CofA bit you won't IMHO get IFR unless you comply with some other standard IFR certification stuff like static bonding i.e. metal mesh in composite panels so that a lightning strike is conducted away from the interior. This makes practical sense because you don't want the control linkages to melt when hit by a strike. Also you need decent bonding to fly in IMC and communicate on the radio; the static created by the water droplets can cause massive static problems. One pilot I know described to me how a certain early certified "plastic plane" used to get occassional massive avionics crashes when flying in IMC. I don't recall if this was the Diamond or the Cirrus. It wasn't widely publicised...
Maybe Genghis knows more? He is involved in flight testing.
As regards other features, things I would be very interested for "serious" flying would be
OBS mode is extremely handy for all sorts of things but especially for flying NDB/VOR procedures using the GPS.
Fuel flowmeter (fuel totaliser) connectivity gives you a readout of the "landing fuel on board" throughout the flight. See any of my trip writeups (example) for examples of how this works. It is absolutely brilliant and I would never do serious flights without it. Here is one article covering the basics and here is how you can screw up if you install it badly
One day you may also want to install a stormscope and again the 430W will act as the display device for that.
The 430W will give you GPS/LPV approach capability. If one day you get an autopilot (trust me - worth having ) then effectively you have an "autoland" down to the DA which is usually 200ft AGL. With careful planning, 99% of IFR is VMC on top but getting back down is useful I know there are uncertified avionics with autopilots too but the 430W will do it.
I think, for the weight increment over something else, it's probably worth keeping.
8.33Khz frequency spacing. Second radio. VOR as backup when something goes wrong with GPS system. G/S, the 4500 acts as an indicator. GNNS approaches are nearly easy. Works very well with 4500 (requires Arinc). The WAAS or EGNOS here in Europe, gives incredible accuracy, including vertically. I believe that there is a good chance we will obtain IMC for certain aircraft, the question is when.
The alternative is part-exchanging it for a 530w or GTN750 then you would have all of the above with an MFD with moving map etc. Not sure if that is something you need but could be a nice glass cockpit upgrade particularly if you have to change your panel anyway.
But even the 430w is great. I would install it.
Thankyou Gentleman, The upgrade to the 530 or 750 is out of the question as the AFS kit does all of that including fuel flow and auto pilot. It also has synthetic vision. keep it coming please, although I think I already know where it's going! Stick. PS. I like Norman's coffee machine but would add a grinder for fresher coffee.